Scotland’s largest athletics contingent with Team GB and NI for more than a century are ready to compete in Rio – but the domestic focus will be on Grangemouth this weekend with a big entry for the Scottish Senior Champs.
Almost 400 athletes have committed to the event, a 33 percent rise on last year at Aberdeen, and more than 20 Scotland and GB internationals will be joined by four of the six Scots headed to the Paralympics in Brazil next month.
With the Scottish U17s Champs, and relay events in three age groups, also taking place more than 800 athletes will demonstrate again the ‘legacy effect’ of Glasgow 2014 two years on from Hampden.
Guy Learmonth, Jamie Bowie, Nick Percy, Jake Wightman, Emily Dudgeon, Rachel Hunter and Kirsty Law are just some of the 20-strong Glasgow 2014 group who will compete for Scottish medals over Saturday and Sunday – joined by Paralympians Sammi Kinghorn, Maria Lyle, Jo Butterfield and Stef Reid in their final events before Rio.
There is also an international selection element with Scottish event winners this weekend set to be picked for the Manchester International next Wednesday (August 17) where they will face teams from England, Wales and GB Juniors.
‘We are looking forward to an exciting weekend at Grangemouth with Scottish championship medals up for grabs for the Seniors and U17 athletes,’ said Mark Munro, Head of Development and interim Chief Executive.
‘It is really good to see a very significant rise in entries for the Senior and Para Champs, following last year’s event in Aberdeen.
‘I’m pleased to see a large number of Commonwealth Games athletes putting themselves forward for competition as that always helps raise the bar. Don’t forget, a year from now the Scottish Seniors will offer athletes the chance to post qualifying standards for Gold Coast 2016. When we add Junior and Youth GB internationals, there will be 30 or more top-class athletes competing and that adds to the anticipation for the event.
‘Often, and very deliberately, we put an important emphasis on making the leap from Junior to Senior – so thanks to all the Seniors who have entered. To be getting close to 400 entered really is pleasing.
‘Ultimately, athletics is about competition and, as a governing body, we are always indebted to athletes, coaches, clubs and parents when they support National events.
‘While it is natural there is a media focus on Rio – with the 15 Scots due to compete in the Olympics starting later this week – we know domestic attention will focus on the Scottish Champs.
‘Our top Para athletes are supporting the event with four of the six selected for Rio – Maria Lyle, Stef Reid, Jo Butterfield and Sammi Kinghorn – shortly before they head to Brazil.’
British champion Nick Percy could bid for a discus and hammer double while London 2012 Paralympic medallist Reid competes in an integrated long jump competition.